7 Tips to a Successful 5K Walk/Run

Article submitted by: Eileen Johnson, RN, at Valley Natural Foods

Are you ready for Valley Natural Foods’ Run for Hope 5K on May 3, 2014?

Click here to register by March 31 to be guaranteed a t-shirt in your size, along with getting a swag bag of cool healthy goodies and a commemorative bib!

 Have you thought about taking it on but weren’t sure how to get ready for it? Running/walking a 5K (3.1miles) is a great way to start the exercise season and/or try out a longer run or walk if you have never done any long distance before. Here are some great training tips:

  1. Optimal nutrition is crucial when you start any new exercise program. This is definitely the time to be eating 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Exercise increases metabolism of the cells, in other words they are working harder and faster, creating more “garbage” or free radicals that require antioxidants from produce to eliminate them. Small amounts of root vegetables like yams, parsnips or turnips add sulfur that support joints. Proteins like grass fed beef, chicken or turkey; fresh, raw nuts and seeds; fish; and protein powders from hemp, whey, rice or pea protein all support muscle growth and prevent injury.
  2. Click here to check out this article from Spark People  for advice on increasing your water intake. In general, consuming an additional quart of water per day will fill the increased needs your body has for fluids.
  3. START SLOWLY if you have never done this before. If you are walking, start with a short walk, adding on gradually every day. If you are running, start with intervals of walking and running, gradually decreasing the walking and increasing the running time.
  4. Click here for a simple training plan for a 5K run on the Mayo Clinic’s website . This specific 7 week plan includes intervals of walking and running that start with 15 seconds of running and 45 seconds of walking that are continued for 30 minutes.
  5. Steve, a cycle instructor at LA Fitness, recommends including 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic physical activity like swimming, running or brisk-walking, or cycling that will increase respiratory strength and endurance. Minutes can be broken into periods of at least 10 minutes, spread throughout the week. Check out his community page on Facebook at “steven cycle class”. Look there for a link to more information on exercise called “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans”.
  6. Click here to find excellent tips on breathing on’s website. Belly breathe deeply through both your mouth and nose, getting rid of carbon dioxide and breathing in oxygen that your muscles need. Develop a rhythm of breathing by taking 3 foot strikes for every inhale and 2 foot strikes for every exhale.
  7. Don’t forget that warming up before (a short walk or light run) and stretching out afterward will save you a lot of pain and injury.  Click here to check out the website for more information

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